Hispanic Heritage Month began as Hispanic Heritage Week and was first established by legislation sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles. It was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the expansion to an entire month. September 15 was chosen as the starting date because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Hispanic countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, who all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.
Fact: October was originally chosen as the month for the GMiS Conference to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month. For 33 years, the best and brightest Hispanic engineers, scientists, and technology professionals are celebrated at the GMiS Conference, almost always during Hispanic Heritage Month!